WHO (World Health Organization) defines a brain injury as an injury which is not hereditary, congenital or degenerative.
Some of the causes can include a blow to the head, whiplash injuries, seizure disorders, tumors, cardiopulmonary arrest, carbon monoxide poisoning, airway obstruction, infectious diseases and toxic exposure.
According to Brain Injury Canada (https://www.braininjurycanada.ca/acquired-brain-injury/), 160,000 Canadians sustain a brain injury each year. Many of these people under-report their true symptoms, for fear of being misunderstood or judged. Literature suggests that more than 30% of concussion patients have symptoms that persist longer than four weeks. About 50% of all acquired brain injuries in Canada come from falls and motor vehicle accidents.
The incidence of brain injury outnumbers breast cancer, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and HIV/AIDs, combined.
How a Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist can help?
When an individual requires care by a concussion clinic, a physician, PT or OT with experience in concussion care provides the diagnosis and directs treatment together within a multi-disciplinary team of health care practitioners, each with experience in brain injury with educational knowledge, and clinical practice into the following areas of concussion management:
- Physical (migraines/headaches)
- Dizziness and balance (vestibular retraining)
- Visual changes (ocular motor dysfunction)
- Tinnitus/ hearing impairments
- Orthopaedic co morbidities
- Cervical spine dysfunction
- Return to learn/play/work
You can also read more information on Guidelines for Concussion and Persistent Symptoms and Guidelines on Diagnosis and Managing Pediatric Concussion.